Odyssey Adventure Club…Join today for ONLY $5!!

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For a limited time, you can listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey for FREE! Album 58, The Ties that Bind, will be available this fall for digital download and CD purchase, but if you join the Odyssey Adventures Club, you can listen to the full album now! Guess what? The $5 special held last month was extended through the end of July, too, so you can join in the fun for only $5!
Here’s what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.
One way families can carry out God’s design for families is by serving their community—right where God has planted them, being His hands and feet together. Want to serve your community with your family, maybe make a day of out it? Here are some fantastic ideas from some Adventures in Odyssey bloggers and club members:

  • Make scarves through the year and deliver them to your local homeless shelter at the start of winter, or regularly donate food to your local food bank. —Shirley
  • Our family likes to help with Meals on Wheels. We also do reenactments of the Civil War and WWII to help educate people on history. I like to show my kids that we should be servers and givers by taking meals to people who need them (i.e. baby just born, someone died, someone had surgery, etc.). —Erin
  • We have been visiting a nursing home with friends once a month. The kids just sing and then we fellowship, but the ladies love it! —Lisa
  • We make lap blankets for nursing home residents and take the time to visit with them. We also collect food for the local food pantry. —Donna
  • We make blessing bags to give to the homeless when we encounter them. We also donate clothes and food to a local shelter. —Amy
  • Our MOPs (Mothers of Prechoolers) group supports our local Pregnancy Support Services with donations, gifts, and notes. We also supports the Durham Rescue Mission, which helps people break free from addictions and restore families. —Melissa
  • We live in a very rural area. Our church serves two of the poorest zip codes in the state, and about a decade ago, they started operating a food pantry out of a closet. It has expanded since then, so we now use the closet for storage, but the pantry is basically a classroom. The kids and I serve over there a lot. My 17-year-old and I go to Care & Share (50 miles away) to get food to bring back to the pantry. All of us help unload and stock shelves. On pantry days, everyone can get involved with helping people go through the line, playing with the kids, carrying boxes out to cars, etc. There are so many hungry folks, especially in the summer when school breakfasts and lunches aren’t available, and helping a bit to put food on some tables is such a blessing for us all. —Debra
  • We pack food bags each month for the homeless and needy through a thrift store that offers an outreach to the community. We also help clean our church and our Sunday school. —Michele
  • We work through our AHG troop to do several service activities a year. My girls just recently made bracelets they are selling, which 100% of the profits goes to Hope House in Africa to help young girls. —Sarah
  • Our church works with a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. We cook food ahead of time, and when our schedules allow we ride down with the group to serve the food. My son always reminds me when we haven’t been for awhile, so it’s something he looks forward to. —Maria
  • We do lots of random acts of kindnesses within our community: pay for others’ meals, leave change at a vending machine, hand out Gatorade/granola bars to people on the side of the road asking for food. We also love to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes. —Kathryn

Did that provide some ideas to give your family service activity the kick-start it needs? What other ideas do you have for serving your community? Share in the comments!


Adventures In Odyssey

I remember being in my late teens-early 20s. I was working for a local dentist, who played Christian radio throughout the office. Every afternoon a kid’s program would come on and life would almost come to a stop, so everyone could listen.

Almost 30 years later, I’m still a fan.

The program?

Adventures in Odyssey.  Whit, Connie, Eugene, Bernard, Mr. Walton, the whole gang.

Recently I grabbed my girls, a friend’s daughter and we hit the road for northwestern Wyoming. Driving from southeastern South Dakota, across to our destination with an Adventures in Odyssey cd in the van reacquainted me with lost episodes. We laughed, we groaned. We learned.

At least I did.

I love the values that are taught by AIO. I love that AIO seems to encompass all ages. My girls are 14 and 11, I’m a lot older and we all enjoy listening.

The radio episodes are not for a certain age group, they aren’t too young for anyone. Some of them might be a bit to old for for young children, but they do issue that disclaimer on those episodes.

Did you know you can listen to AIO online? Focus on the Family has an online Odyssey Adventure Club.  You can listen to episodes, read a daily devotion, search albums and podcasts, you can even go on adventures (one is about how to turn a stranger into a friend…I should do that one!!)

You can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5!! Think of it as a $5 investment in your children’s lives, their hearts, and some sanity for you.

I Quit Sugar {A Review}

Several years ago I quit sugar, or more accurately I stopped eating anything with any type of refined sugar/sweetener. I used raw honey in baking, and saw a huge reduction in my seasonal allergies.  I still have them, and they are still bad but not at all like they were.

I’ve been curious since then about how my body acts and reacts to different foods. The commercial touting the greatness of HCFS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and equates it with sugar is laughable. Your body does not metabolize all sugar the same way.

The more highly refined sugars are worse for your body.  HCFS, table sugar, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, stevia, Splenda, aspartame, Sweet’N low, Nutra-sweet etc are all man-made, over-processed, fake-food sweeteners deemed to be “good” because sugar is evil. If sugar is evil, those sweeteners are the spawn of satan.

I’m not here to get into all the evils of refined, processed (and over processed) food, or food-like substances. I’m here to talk about Sarah Wilson’s book, I Quit Sugar.

Sarah has a whole 8-week complete detox program designed to rid your body of sugar cravings, to recalibrate your system. She found it takes about that long cleanse your body of sugar.

My experience was that it did not take near that long. But I have one caveat.

I eat fruit.

With Sarah’s plan, you do not eat any sugar at all. That includes no fruit.

At first I was taken aback by this and was sure I was going to hate the book. I don’t hate the book.  I think some of what Sarah says is at best misguided. She equates fructose (sugar found naturally in whole food fruits) to be as evil as refined white table sugar.

That simply is not the case. God made fruit and fruit is full of good nutrients your body needs.

I have a couple of things to say about fructose. Yes, it is sugar. Yes, God made it. No, it is not processed into refined sugar.  If one took the fructose found in say apples and processed it to refined sugar…it would be bad. But eating an apple is not bad. It’s healthy.

“In nature, sweet tastes usually came from seasonal raw fruit, rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.” (from It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, page 31)

So I say eat fruit.

Sarah also says “Sugar is sugar” and that is only partly true. Again, how our bodies processed sugars is not all the same.  She recommends when you’ve completed the 8-week detox you use brown rice syrup as a sweetener.  It is, according to her book, “made from fermented cooked rice…is a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose”. In my research, brown rice syrup is the same as refined white sugar. She also recommends using stevia. Now one book I read says to eat food with few ingredients all of which you can easily pronounce. That means stevia is out because the only thing easy to pronounce is the name. It (again according the I Quit Sugar book) is made from stevioside (300 time sweeter than sugar) and rebaudioside (450 times sweeter than sugar). You can get this in a liquid or mixed with erythritol to form granules.  (From I Quit Sugar, page 43)

So I say, eat fruit.

With all of that. The book is a great, easy read. And the program has worked well for many people around the globe. I did not have the opportunity yet to try any of the recipes, but they all look really good! And I do plan on trying them. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.  You can find more information on the I Quit Sugar 8-week detox program here.


This week….

I had such grandiose plans for this week. It was vbs week at church and three-fourths of us were involved in helping. One-fourth of us decided the best way to help was to stay home and out of the way, thereby giving her plenty of time to deep, deep clean her house and declutter.

(Have you ever noticed decluttering is a full time job? The more you do it, the more you have to? Its like all your stuff sees items leaving and decides they need to reproduce like dust bunnies? )

Monday started off super. I ran/walked 3 miles, mowed the yard, and managed to get the laundry done.

Tuesday I borrowed a friends trampoline and jumped for 10 minutes. I wanted to run, but my stupid shoes gave me a blister. It seems I ran around a lot, but I can only think of two errands.

Wednesday, ran the family to vbs, again jumped, ran back to get the 11.5 year old from vbs so she could go to ballet class. I sat in the van and crocheted while twinkle toes did her dance.

Thursday; walked to friend’s house to jump, set off their home security alarm. Played with their cat, walked back home and crocheted some more.

Today is Friday…we’ll see if I get any more housework done. I have a mental list of what needs done but the sun is shining and warm. All I want to do it read and/or crochet outside.

Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini {A Review}

I am not The Pioneer Woman. I’m not even a pioneer woman.  What’s more I don’t want to be a pioneering woman. There was a short time in my life when I did aspire to be one, it was during my Laura Ingalls Wilder phase. But even then in the back of my mind was the horrid thought of “they didn’t have french fries.”

I am indebted to those who have gone before and paved the way for me to have the modern conveniences and niceties. I would not have wanted to be in their shoes for the most part. I do sometimes sit and wish I could have experienced the massive changes they lived through. I wish I had their work ethic.

I do long for a simpler way of life. And as the economy continues to change and drop, I desire a more self-sustaining way of life. I want to be able to grow my own vegetables, and make what I can with what I have.

That is why I picked up the book, Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini. This book is full of over 150 recipes, projects, and skills for a self-sufficient life. There is nothing in this book that anyone could not make using items you probably already have.

She tells you the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow. how to make a raised bed, how to use vaseline to “distress” wood. how to make beeswax candles, how to turn a glass bottle into a drinking glass, how to make almond milk, cold brewed  iced coffee, how to season and clean cast iron.

One chapter is entitled “Earth to Table Eating” and tells you how to eat a rose. Yes, eat one.

If you are at all interested in a self-sufficient way of life, this is the book for you.


I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books  for the purpose of review.


Today is supposed to be in the upper 80s, and to that I say “Bring it!” I celebrated by doing this:


That is my “yard waste” container. It was empty when I started. And I mowed my grass last week..sometime.

Here is a difference between Mr. FullCup and myself. He asked me last night how I was going to spend my morning alone (it’s vbs week at my church), I replied, “Run, mow the grass, do laundry, drink coffee, clean the house….”
Him: Does the grass *need* mowed?
Me: Uhhhh yes, yes it does.
Him: I think it looks fine.
Me: You’d be surprised….


Samantha Sanderson: At the Movies

(NOTE: I myself have not read this book. You see my 11 year…err 11.5 year old daughter yanked it nicely out of my hand as soon as it was opened and I have only seen it in her hand. And I heard her giggling over it and exclaiming happily, “I LOVE this BOOK!” So here is her review.)

I love this book because it is very well written plus it seems like the sort of thing that really could happen. The only problem was that it had a lot of typos in it. Other than that, it was excellent.

Samantha, Sam yearns to be the chief editor of her middle school newspaper, and when she gets a job reporting on the bombing of their local theater it seems the perfect opportunity to prove her skills. But with the current editor-in-chief threatening to remove her from the case, Sam’s articles have to be new and fresh every day. But she may have signed up for more than she bargained for when the theater owner threatens to sue, and a suspect becomes determined to trample her father’s reputation.

Suddenly Sam has to unmask the real villain before her stores turn the whole town at odds. Will the culprit be put to justice before it’s too late?

(Okay, back to me. Samantha Sanderson At the Movies is written by  Robin Caroll and is available at Christian bookstores near you. Or you could probably find it online. I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review. No children, books or bugs were harmed in the making of this review.)